September 26th, 2008

But it’s not about politics. Sure thing.

Yesterday I wrote about whether McCain and Obama were playing politics in their responses to the financial crisis and the scheduling of the first debate. My answer was that of course they were, but that there is principle and personality involved, as well.

Now, as we await further word on whether Congress can finally get its act together and agree to a package that will calm Wall Street while simultaneously protecting the American people from having to foot a huge bill (and perhaps, dare we ask, to prevent future crises of a similar nature from getting to the point of needing such heroic measures), we hear that the Presidential debate is on tonight.

Good, fine, whatever. The timing of the debate is a matter of little consequence, IMHO.

What is far more important are the goings-on in Congress, some of which are clearly partisan. I am especially incensed by the posturing of Barney Frank, who likened McCain to Andy Kaufman in a Mighty Mouse costume, saying McCain “doesn’t know anything about it” (“it” being the Congressional negotiations and the crisis).

Of course, we all would love to hear just what Barney Frank knew about “it,” and when he knew it. But don’t sit on a hot stove till he comes clean. And don’t count on the MSM (with the exception of lonely Fox News) to ask him. The Anchoress quite aptly characterizes Frank as “a trapped animal trying to distract the hunters toward anyone but him.” So far the distraction seems to be working.

And then there’s Harry Reid, a man for whom every cell in his body and every word that comes out of his mouth is political and only political. True to form, Reid said it was all John McCain’s fault. Apparently everyone in Congress was playing together nicely until McCain the big bully came onto the schoolyard and started a pack of trouble.

Yeah, right. Does anyone on earth—even the most liberal in-the-tank-for-Obama Democrat—believe that?

What’s really happening behind closed doors in Congress? This report (even if it is by ABC News) seems a good start. Surprise, surprise–there’s arguing, wrangling, and carrying on from each side.

One thing is crystal clear—there was no agreement before McCain came aboard, nor did he jettison one. Another thing that’s clear is that the crisis is both urgent and complex, not a winning combination. Something must be done quite soon, if we are to believe Paulson and Bernake. But the details are extremely important, even vital, and reasonable people can (and will) differ on what might be the best solution.

Therefore, getting to an agreement would be difficult in the best of circumstances. But Congress does not represent the best of circumstances.

It would be wonderful if all the legislators in Washington really had the welfare of the American people at heart rather than pandering to their bases or harming the other side. But that’s never going to happen. The best we can hope for is that the system by which Congress “operates,” flawed though it may be, will in the end justify the faith of our Founding Fathers that from such wrangling can emerge a consensus that will benefit the nation as a whole.

18 Responses to “But it’s not about politics. Sure thing.”

  1. BarneyFrank Says:

  2. nyomythus Says:

    Trusted sources on the web are becoming more and more the only option for thoughtful and objective analysis, thank you neo-neocon for being one of those sources!

  3. vanderleun Says:

    How can Barney Frank know anything when he doesn’t even know about a whorehouse in his basement. Or maybe he did. Or maybe Congress really is just a basement whorehouse, in which case, Frank is the Madam.

    Works for me.

  4. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    The Democrats control both houses and know the President will not veto their plan. They don’t need any Republican votes. They should do as they please and take responsibility for it. It’s called adulthood.

  5. vanderleun Says:

    ABC news report link goes nowhere at present.

  6. neo-neocon Says:


    Thanks for the heads-up on the broken link. Fixed.

    Re Franks’s whorehouse in the basement, I think he was going on the policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

    Or at least the “don’t tell” part of it.

  7. Sergey Says:

    Sometimes I am glad that much of Russian politics is done behind closed doors. At least, it stinks less.

  8. Financial Crisis: Is this an illusion? - UPDATES | The Anchoress Says:

    [...] Both Powerline and Lorie Byrd say “McCain is leading; Obama is following” but perception is everything and I don’t think that is the current perception. Meanwhile, John Hawkins has an up-to-the-minute interview with Sen. DeMint. It does seem that the Dems are succeeding in laying failure at the feet of the GOP, even though they don’t NEED the GOP to pass their bill. It seems to me that “trying not to be blamed” is a bad way to govern, for either side. Hugh Hewitt is saying GOP: Make the deal Baseball Crank says GOP take the bill, or you’ll be blamed Rich Lowry: Pass the Bill; don’t let the GOP to get blamed for this. James Pethokoukis says this brings the 2012 GOP Nominee to the fore McCain: Make the deal or we’re done as a party Also, if you don’t vote for Obama, you are a racist AND an incompetent! Neo-Neocon: It’s not about politics, right [...]

  9. strcpy Says:

    I would never underestimate the power of cognitive dissonance were I you. I’m certain there are a large number of leftist that (at least after thinking on it a bit) now fully 100% believe that McCain is responsible. They will have to wait and see if they can get something to stick before they figure out how, but that will come in time (at the least they will find something they can all agree is correct even if everyone else thinks it’s stupid).

    The number of people I’ve seen telling me to vote for Obama because McCain takes money from the investment industry is worse – many even link to the page and tell me to look at line such and such when Obama is in the top five in taking contributions for *all* the different investment industry breakdowns. Did they think that I wouldn’t even look to see who the top five were, did they even notice, and if so how can they still say not to vote for McCain because he takes that money?

    When their own data says, explicitly, the opposite of what they are telling you (and get quite angry when you note that Obama is in the top five – and do so with a non-aggressive way) saying something that can not proven or dis proven but doesn’t really make sense is a lesser amount of mental manipulation.

  10. amr Says:

    This is enough to want the bailout stopped in its present form:

    Q&O-Ed Morrisey at Hot Air provides the language in the bill which supports the point. It came from Chris Dodd’s proposal:

    1. DEPOSITS.Not less than 20 percent of any profit realized on the sale of each troubled asset purchased under this Act shall be deposited as provided in paragraph (2).
    2. USE OF DEPOSITS.Of the amount referred to in paragraph (1)
    1. 65 percent shall be deposited into the Housing Trust Fund established under section 1338 of the Federal Housing Enterprises Regulatory Reform Act of 1992 (12 U.S.C. 4568); and
    2. 35 percent shall be deposited into the Capital Magnet Fund established under section 1339 of that Act (12 U.S.C. 4569).

    REMAINDER DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY.All amounts remaining after payments under paragraph (1) shall be paid into the General Fund of the Treasury for reduction of the public debt.
    Got that? 20% right off the top is siphoned off and 65% of that goes to the Housing Trust Fund. Where does ACORN come in? The Heritage Foundation picks it up from there:

    Just like any organized crime group, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) has a long and established history of using fraud, deceit and intimidation to achieve its goals. ACORN uses intimidation to shake down corporations for operating funds, deceives its own employees into supporting causes they don’t believe in, and cheats the entire country by submitting fraudulent voter registrations.

    ACORN is also adept at co-opting government power to fund and legitimize a criminal enterprise. It has been winning federal money since the Carter administration and routinely receives millions of dollars in federal grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In the 1990s, it began shaking down local business communities and has established local “Housing Trust Funds” in more than 300 states, counties, cities and towns. The funds funnel money through groups like ACORN to produce new homes and refurbish existing ones. The key to these trust funds is securing a dedicated source of public funds.

    The Holy Grail for ACORN has been the establishment of a National Housing Trust Fund. During the brief economic downturn in 2001, ACORN pushed the fund as an economic stimulus. From 2003 through 2006 it pushed the fund as a solution to housing prices that were too high. Now liberals in Congress have included the National Housing Trust Fund in the latest housing bailout bill, arguing it’s needed because housing prices are too low.

    Nuff said

  11. Teri Pittman Says:

    I wrote to my two Senators and also to McCain, urging them to reject the bailout. I think McCain has everything to gain by voting against it. Ever since I saw Gingrich say that he should vote against it and let it be the Obama-Bush bailout, it seemed like a great idea. I’m not convinced that we need this bailout, even though I understand that things are turning ugly. Why should we let banks write off student loan losses, when the borrowers can’t write them off, even with bankruptcy or disability?

  12. Lem Says:

    Obama is running an intimidation campaign.

    And he is not even president yet.

  13. cSimon Says:

    Teri — There are accounting rules that require businesses to write off debt they know is bad to insure that their published reporting of P& L (Profit & Loss) as well as their balance sheets are accurate and not misleading to investors/potential investors.

    There will surely be an additional significant controversy re: how responsible is the accounting industry in this crisis. The purpose of required audits of public companies is to ensure that reporting is valid, that necessary disclosures are clearly presented. The accounting industry uses something called Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) which specifies required rules for reporting. There will be close scrutiny of the rules and how they may have prevented accurate presentation of all the failed banks’ positions.
    It’s been mentioned a bit in MSM, but put on back burner in view of urgency of current situation.

  14. Ymarsakar Says:

    You need a balance of powers. So far, the media has unbalanced things, along with the Supreme Court’s cooperation and some Executive cooperation as well.

  15. Rose Says:

    I can’t watch the debate. I heard some of it in the car and I had to turn it off. It turned my stomach. Please tell me how it comes out.

  16. Truth Says:

    The most breathtaking aspect about this week’s crisis, though, is that the life raft which Washington had only previously used to bail out the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is being handed out by a government whose party usually fights against any form of government intervention. The policy is anchored in its party platform.

    I fear the government has passed the point of no return, financial historian Ron Chernow told the New York Times. We have the irony of a free-market administration doing things that the most liberal Democratic administration would never have been doing in its wildest dreams.

  17. Truth Says:

    the media has unbalanced things, along with the Supreme Court’s cooperation and some Executive cooperation as well.

    Marcy Kaptur - an Ohio congresswoman puts a beatdown on Bush Bailout

  18. nolanimrod Says:

    Great line! Therefore, getting to an agreement would be difficult in the best of circumstances. But Congress does not represent the best of circumstances. But you should have much bushier eyebrows and be waggling a big cigar.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.


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